Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 Expansion Draft

On Wed November 24th, the Whitecaps and Timbers will get to select 10 players each from the rosters of the 16 existing MLS teams in a ten round draft with the Whitecaps picking second each time. The existing teams get to protect 11 players with homegrown and Generation Adidas players automatically protected. No team can lose more than two players and if a player is selected a twelfth player can be added to bring the protected list back up to eleven again. A key stumbling block when considering who to put on the protected list is that teams can only make three fewer foreign players available than they have on their roster. With those ground rules explained here is who I would place on TFC's protected list if I were the one calling the shots at BMO Field:

DP players

1  Julian DeGuzman Assuming there is a no-trade clause in Julian DeGuzman's contract and he is on a guaranteed deal for 2011 there is no question who the first name on the list will be. Mista's deal was only until the end of the 2010 season so presumably he can be made available.

The three foreigners (non-Canadian or non-American citizens or permanent residents)

2 Maicon Santos Given the uninspiring form of many of the other import players it would be a major shock if Maicon Santos is left off the list. Arguably his injury in the home game against Chivas was the beginning of the end for Preki and Mo Johnston.

3 Amadou Sanyang Not universally liked amongst the fanbase but if he has recovered from his injury will probably be retained given he does a reasonably competent job for a low salary number in a position that is much more difficult and pivotal than most fans realize.

4 Martin Saric A difficult selection because a strong case can also be made for Milos Kocic. The reasoning here is that a core nucleus of players that can start regularly needs to be retained to avoid trying to make too many changes all at one like last season. A question mark would be Saric's contract status in 2011 and if he is headed back to Europe then I would protect Kocic here assuming he doesn't have a green card with an eye to what might happen if a good tranfer offer is received for Stefan Frei during the January transfer window.

The Canadians (there may be no Canadian content requirement now but TFC still need domestic players for marketing reasons)

5 Dwayne DeRosario Although his self-indulgent cheque signing gesture should have been the beginning of the end for DeRosario at BMO Field there are signs that MLSE management are prepared to overlook it and there is no way a competent management team (interim or otherwise) will risk losing him for nothing to the Whitecaps. If he leaves in the build up to the 2011 season it will be as part of a trade.

6 Nana Attakora No brainer for reasons that should be obvious to all. Good enough to start regularly while being paid a bench player's number against the salary cap. He is only going to improve in the seasons ahead.

7 Adrian Cann A great addition to central defence. It is debatable whether TFC would have been anywhere near a playoff spot if he had not been signed. As long as he is under contract for 2011 at a reasonable salary cap number (and comments made at the postseason press conference suggested that he expects to be) there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will be on the list.

The Americans (given the salary cap and roster rules the backbone of any MLS roster are the players that enter the league through the NCAA)

8 Stefan Frei Assuming he graduates from Generation Adidas status his inclusion is an absolute no brainer.

9 Chad Barrett A player TFC may want to trade eventually if a better option can be found on the international transfer market but not a player TFC management will want to lose for nothing during an expansion draft.

10 Nick LaBrocca Another player who has his critics but his low salary and versatility in midfield should be enough to see him claim a place on TFC's protected list barring any complications with his contract situation.

11 Dan Gargan As with Matin Saric this is another difficult selection because a case can also be made for Jacob Peterson or Ty Harden. If the team is going to hit the ground running in 2011 there probably needs to be at least one fullback returning who can be relied on to do a competent job. Peterson's salary number may scare Vancouver and Portland away despite signs of improved form at the end of the season and TFC may not be too sorry to see him go for the same reason. Harden like Gargan provides good inexpensive depth to the roster but plays at the same position as Attakora and Cann and is therefore more expendable at this point. 

Up for grabs:

Unprotected foreigners: Mista, Hscanovics, Usanov, Joseph, Gomez, Kocic
Unprotected domestic Canadian players: White, Gala
Unprotected Americans: Harden, Garcia, Peterson, Conway

Protected younger players:

 Homegrown players: Doneil Henry, Nicolas Lindsay
GA players: Fuad Ibrahim {assuming GA status retained}

Given TFC's relatively poor season and given there are now 15 other teams available to choose the 20 players from, TFC may avoid losing any players. I suspect TFC will probably wind up losing one player, however, because there are some obvious potential targets that are likely to be left unprotected. An expansion team might be willing to be patient with O'Brian White to see if he can turn things around, for example, and Ty Harden might look like a good bargain as a serviceable defender costing the league minimum against the cap. There are usually a large number of goalkeepers made available so TFC probably have a good chance of getting away with leaving Conway and Kocic unprotected but Conway in particular might look like a good option as an inexperienced and relatively inexpensive goalkeeper. Very few people would have predicted that the Sounders would select Jarrod Smith (possibly in error thinking it was Johann) so it's difficult to rule any scenario out completely at this point. I will be more than a little bit surprised if Mista, Hscanovics, Usanov, Gala or Joseph wind up plying their trade on the Pacific coast next summer.

(Nov 18th) Edit: Fuad Ibrahim and Stefan Frei have both graduated from Generation Adidas. I don't think Ibrahim has done enough over the past four years to make it onto the protected list. He might be a tempting target for the Timbers if his number against the salary cap (as opposed to his total earnings with guaranteed bonuses factored in) is close to the league minimum.

1 comment:

  1. Some of these guys get protected by default. I can't see Saric being picked up by either expansion team, but I guess he's the best of a poor international pool on this club. In the end, I don't see him being on the roster come opening day 2011.